‘What the hell?’ Patrick Reed rebounds from topped shot, two water balls to stay in contention at WGC-Workday

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Steve DiMeglio
·3 min read
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BRADENTON, Fla. – What the hell?

That’s what Patrick Reed instantly said Friday after his second shot on the par-5 third hole at The Concession during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Workday Championship left the face of his 3-wood.

In this rare instance, his ball barely got airborne and instead of taking flight, it took the low road and scampered down the fairway all of 122 yards and came to rest in a bunker.

Embarrassing? Yes. Infuriating? A tad. Baffling? Bingo.

“With having that tree in front of me, I tried to really knock that thing down and hit like a low cut,” Reed said. “I think that’s the first time I ever actually probably had enough shaft lean and enough body in front of the golf ball where I actually hit that ball on the center of the face and it had to have just literally hit right in the ground in front and it went forward.”

But the ball ended up at a perfect number to the green for Reed – 142 yards – and he hit a brilliant shot from the bunker to 5 feet and made birdie. So, yes, while even pros top shots, pros can rebound with birdies.

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That wasn’t the only weird occurrence during Reed’s odd round. The defending champion also hit two balls into water hazards – one with his tee shot on the par-4 fifth and one when he spun his wedge from 103 yards off the green at the par-4 eighth. Both led to bogeys.

“The first one in the water on 5, literally, right on the middle of the downswing with driver, my back foot slipped behind me and I pulled it left,” Reed said. “The second one, I’m still shocked with how that ball ended up in the water. I took a club that not only was going to get over the tree but was going to fly past the hole.

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“If anything, we’re bringing long into play, not short. When I hit it and I saw it in the air, I’m sitting there thinking this is going to fly 10, 15 feet past and it might spin. It flew short. Still can’t believe it.”

But on this latest day of a year that has been anything but humdrum, Reed rebounded with six birdies and posted his second consecutive 4-under-par 68 and will start the third round three shots behind leader Brooks Koepka.

Reed just doesn’t do normal. Noise travels with the 2018 Masters champion as he plays around the globe and this year has been no different. But he brushes whatever static lands on him and moves forward.

Just as he did after the rules controversy during the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open that sparked outrage on social media. It was declared he had acted properly in receiving penalty-free relief from an embedded ball on the 10th hole and the next day he overwhelmed the field en route to victory.

His weird year also included weathering the storm that brought Texas to its knees. Reed’s home can be warmed and lit by generators, and he had friends and family over so they could escape the hazardous cold. The storm also gave Reed a chance to build snowmen with his two children.

So a topped shot and two water balls isn’t going to knock Reed down.

“I basically just kind of reset,” Reed said. “I felt like I’m still making some good golf swings and putting myself in spots that you need to in order to attack this golf course. There towards the end, it was just kind of a couple head-scratchers.

“You move on.”